Using medication to help with mental health challenges is becoming more common–even among children. Many children now take medications for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Also, psychotropic medications may be prescribed for children who have autism, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and other mental health conditions.
“Drugs can be helpful as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that also includes psychotherapy, family therapy, and, if needed, school and community interventions focused on providing necessary supports,” says Andres S. Martin, MD, MPH, a Yale Medicine Child Study Center psychiatrist. When making decisions about medication, Dr. Martin says, it is always important to address the full context of a child’s life, including peer and family relationships, and academic and developmental progress.